For the sixth episode of “In Other Words”, we welcome Gavin Brown, who founded his eponymous gallery Gavin Brown’s enterprise in 1994. Together with Allan Schwartzman, the co-founder of AAP and chairman of Sotheby’s Fine Arts Division, and our host Charlotte Burns, senior editor at AAP, their wide-ranging discussion covers how we define value in art, the effect of the market on traditional gallery models, and the importance of art in turbulent times.
“In Other Words” is a presentation of AAP and Sotheby’s, produced by Audiation.fm.
For a full transcript, click here
Gavin Brown founded his eponymous gallery, Gavin Brown’s enterprise, in Manhattan’s west Soho in 1994, before moving to Greenwich Street in 2003. Brown ran the artists’ bar Passerby (which had a floor designed by Piotr Uklański) on west 15th Street from 1997 until 2008.
In 2016, the gallery relocated to Harlem, opening with an “enigmatic” exhibition of works by Ed Atkins, while the second exhibition, “Love is the Message, the Message is Death” (2016-2017) by Arthur Jafa was hailed as a “crucial ode to Black America” and “required viewing”.
Born and raised in Croydon, England, Brown initially trained as an artist, attending Newcastle Polytechnic in England and then Chelsea College of Arts in the early 1980s. He moved to New York in 1988 to take part in the Whitney Museum’s Independent Study Program.
While working as a director of 303 Gallery in the early 1990s, Brown spent his spare time staging exhibitions in diverse locations such as his apartment on the Upper West Side, an office cubicle in midtown Manhattan and an abandoned building in TriBeCa. In 1993, he rented a room in the Chelsea Hotel to present the work of the then-unknown artist Elizabeth Peyton.
In 2013, together with the artist Laura Owens, Brown co-founded the Los Angeles artist-run gallery space 356 Mission. He opened a gallery in Rome in the 8th-century church Sant’Andrea de Scaphis in 2015.
Allan Schwartzman is a Founder and Principal of AAP. He brings to the company more than 20 years’ experience in advising some of the world’s most influential and sophisticated collectors in forming their holdings of contemporary art, both individually and in conjunction with their stewardship of major museums.
Schwartzman is also widely respected as an independent curator, most notably for Instituto Inhotim, the visionary contemporary art park set within a 5,000-acre botanical garden in Brazil. As creative director and chief curator of Inhotim, he has been central to developing the collection of the renowned institution and commissioning its signature site-specific works by artists including Chris Burden, Giuseppe Penone, Matthew Barney, Doris Salcedo, Doug Aitken, Rivane Neuenschwander, Olafur Eliasson and Rirkrit Tiravanija, including projects that could not have been realized anywhere else.
Known equally as a tastemaker in contemporary art and an authority on the art market, Schwartzman is a frequent guest speaker and panelist at the Museum of Modern Art, the Guggenheim Museum, Art Basel and notable events around the world.
Schwartzman was a founding staff member of the New Museum of Contemporary Art in New York City and served as curator from 1977 to 1980. He has written extensively about art for publications including The New Yorker, the New York Times, Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, Elle, Artforum and Art in America and was a contributing editor of Connoisseur. He served as a board member of Franklin Furnace from 1980 to 2000 and currently serves on the Board of Artists Space, one of New York’s premier alternative spaces, having also served as the board’s president.
Charlotte Burns is the editor of In Other Words, our weekly newsletters and podcasts. She was previously the US news and market editor for The Art Newspaper, as well as a regular correspondent for publications such as the Guardian and Monocle. Previously, she worked with the London dealer Anthony d’Offay on special projects. For several years, she was a consultant at the cultural communications agency, Bolton & Quinn. She also worked at Hauser & Wirth in London.
Burns received a Masters degree (with Merit) from the Courtauld Institute in Art and Cultural Politics in Germany, 1890-1945, as well as a first-class B.A. honors degree in English and History of Art from Birmingham University. She moved to New York in 2010.
The live record
For more on Gavin Brown
“The Enterprising Mr. Brown” in W Magazine, July 2013
“‘The Word Gallery Is No Longer Elastic Enough’: Gavin Brown on His New York Reopening” in ARTnews, May 2016
For more on Arthur Jafa’s “Love Is the Message, the Message Is Death”
“Great Balls of Fire: Arthur Jafa at Gavin Brown’s enterprise” in Hyperallergic, January 2017
“Arthur Jafa Distilled the Black American Experience Into a High Art Music Video” in the Village Voice, December 2016
For more on Jannis Kounellis
“Review: Art That Snorts, From Jannis Kounellis, at Gavin Brown’s enterprise” in The New York Times, June 2015
“See 12 Horses Turn a Downtown Gallery into a Living Art Installation” in Bloomberg, June 2015